Out of My Comfort Zone

I always like to have a New Year’s Day start and this year was no exception.  I wanted 2018 to be a year where I not only focused on whittling down the enormous pile of WIPs, but I also wanted to work on something that would stretch my skills a bit.  Last year I started the year off with Williamsburg Remembered that so intimidated me that I quickly lost interest in working on it (much to the chagrin of the ladies I was supposed to be SAL-ing with).  But after spending so much time in 2017 catching back up on one of my absolute favorite blogs (who sadly has since quit blogging), I kept being so inspired by her projects and the level of skill that she demonstrated that I thought I needed to step up my game a little bit.

Back in 2010 Amy Mitten designed a piece for our guild‘s tenth anniversary.  It was a mystery sampler that turned out to be an amazing Adam & Eve piece with a large Tudor Rose at the top (for the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild).  Be still my heart.  We started off stitching in the rose in class, but when Amy passed around her model we quickly saw how beautifully aged and mottled her piece was.  Not at all like the (I think it’s) Lambswool that we had in our kit.  Amy explained that she had tea-dyed her fabric to give it that look.  The photo above is of the top half of the sampler.  Gorgeous, right? And I love those splotches of color she said were from Orange Pekoe tea.

If you’ve been reading my blog here or watching my videos for any length of time, you know that getting stuck or frustrated with a piece is usually the last time it sees the light of day.  I wanted to tea-dye my fabric but I’d just stitched that  big red flower with hand-dyed silk.  Dilemma!!!

When I decided at the end of last year that I really wanted to pick this piece up again and that I wanted it to be my New Year’s (re) start, the first order of business was to rip out all my stitching.  I was able to salvage most of the silk, but unfortunately not all of it.  Once I had all my stitching out, I did some tea dyeing on my fabric.  I dunked it in tea for a bit and then let some tea bags sit on the fabric for a bit as well.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It has a lot more life to it now than just the basic lambswool linen.  I love it.  So, that done, I was ready to go on January 1.

I started by restitching the foundation for the Tudor rose.  The petals will be 3-dimensional and eventually added.

Managed to get all those little leaves done.

Double running stitch for the trunk and branches (the trunk and branches become the tree Adam and Eve are beneath).

And I finally got to add the first of the leaves in the color Venom.  Absolutely love how it’s looking and while challenging, I just took it one step at a time.  This is what I got done in basically a week of stitching before I moved on to something else.  I’m anxious now to pick this back up and work on it some more.

Here is what the whole thing will look like when finished.

Pretty fabulous, no?

I am grateful for inspiration to practice new skills.

Revisiting Victorine

Way back in January of 2012 I decided to start the gorgeous Victorine Delacroix sampler from The Essamplaire.  A friend and I conspired and bought kits for this piece during a sale and decided to splurge on getting the silk kit rather than the DMC.  Soooo happy I did.

The photo above shows my progress on Victorine as of the last time I worked on her, which was quite some time ago.  Here is a not so flattering photo of the original from The Essamplaire’s site.

Admittedly, it is a little harder to fall in love with her based on this photo.  But she is a stunner in person.  So, back in January of this year I was having the hardest time settling on anything I really wanted to stitch on so I decided to dig some options out of the vault.  Victorine was calling to me, so I pulled her out and started on the motif to the right of that basket of flowers.  I so love the contrast of those pistachio and lime greens against the drab colored flowers.

I only worked on her for a couple of nights, but it was enough to rekindle my love affair with her.  It was also enough for me to start and finish that motif including the over one heart and initials in the center.

So pretty.  I’m stitching her on the 40ct linen that came in the kit and the silks are AVAS.  Luscious.

I am looking forward to that satin stitched ribbon-looking inner border and the navy baskets of flowers down below.

There are some beautiful photos of a Victorine in progress over at Corgi Cottage, if you need further enabling.

I am grateful for sampler stitching when I’m feeling unsettled.